This is the official BYMRR Model Railroad Blog Page containing many excellent articles all about model railroading - train tutorials, modeling tips and techniques, layout scenery, wiring your railroad, automating your trains, building your layout benchwork, operating your trains and and links to model railroading supplies. Written by model railroad authorities on how to build a layout step-by-step.
The mission and goal of this model railroad blog is to enable interaction among model railroaders everywhere, to share information about the hobby to all those who are interested and to promote model railroading as a fantastic, enjoyable, artistic craft that enhances comradery and brings people together.
New and Updated Pages:
The April issue of Tracks is once again full of model railroading information, pictures and videos for all ages and all scales.
I built a diorama (16 x 12) of a pond and an abandoned caboose entering a tunnel. I touched up the caboose with streaks of gray and rust-colored paint
I built a diorama of a Cape Cod harbor with a sand dune,piers,buildings,and various sized boats(hand carved kayaks,row boats,motor boats,and a fishing
Abandoned Caboose diorama with a pond and people camping out on the pond.
Hi Just getting back into Model Railroading after a long break. Digging out my old stuff I found this Service Station Model brand new, still with plastic
How to install traffic signals on your model railroad layout.
3D printing is a great way to create unique 3D models or parts for your miniature model railroad in any scale.
This issue of Tracks is once again chock full of news, information, tips and videos all about model railroading and railfanning.
Wiring railroad signals is a somewhat mysterious aspect of model railroading. A simple wiring method is described here for manual operation. References provided for automatic operation.
MOW, or maintenance of way, equipment is an important part of any prototypical railroad, and can be incorporated into any model railroad layout to enhance realism and operations.
Building a trolley layout is another facet of this wonderful hobby that can provide loads of enjoyment for the young and old alike. Here's how to get started.
The February 2021 issue of Tracks contains a ton of useful information all about building and managing your model railroad.
Two new Digitrax DS64 stationary decoders. I bought these about 5 years ago for a project that was delayed. Upon restarting the project I decided not to
Q: I am planning a 4X6ft. N scale RR. I plan to use a 4X6ft. piece of plywood. I want to nail the track to a cork sub roadbed. What advantage does foam have? Thanks.
A: The main reason I like to use foam pads as a layout surface is that if you want to dig out a creek, a lake or a ravine, it is much easier to do that if the surface is foam rather than plywood. It’s also helpful if you want to put a magnet under your track to use for uncoupling. A third reason is that it is easier to manage wiring. You can run wires easily through the middle of a foam pad to the side of your layout where your turnout switches or control panel might be located, or to run wires for an new light fixture that you want to put in the middle of your layout. Fourth, you can more easily embed a structure into foam so that you don’t have the foundation of your structure hovering over the surface of the layout. It’s also easier to plant trees in foam than in plywood. Foam is quieter than plywood when running trains. I also think that nailing the track down to plywood doesn’t allow for expansion and/or contraction of the track as the temperature and humidity change throughout the different seasons. So after a few years, you might find your track buckling a little.
You still need the plywood under the foam pad for a good, steady layout surface, but for all the reasons above, I like foam pads on the top.
Step-by-step creation of a small N Scale model train layout - A great way to get started, or if you just want to take a break from the big layout.
Custom Train Table Solid Wood 8x10' 2x3' (removable middle) In northern Cincinnati area, pick up only. $100 OBO
Question about How to Get Sound on DC Layouts:
I have an analog layout... If I buy an N scale loco with onboard sound will the sound work on the track?
The answer is YES, but not with a regular DC transformer. You will have to purchase a special DC transformer that has this capability.
It is made by Model Rectifier Corp, called MRC Tech 6. It can operate DCC sound-decoder-equipped locomotives on analog track with all the usual DCC functions including the ability to change CVs and programming of the decoders.
Here is a video explaining its capabilities.
Another option would be to just switch over to DCC with a Digitrax Zephyr or NCE starter system. These can operate both DC (using “00” as the code) and DCC locomotives.
Tracks - a model railroad newsletter with lots of great tips and tricks on how to build your own model railroad.
Answers to questions about model railroading submitted by our readers
Tracks is a monthly newsletter containing short articles, videos, tips and techniques of interest to model railroaders of all ages and all scales.
We just received a large shipment of mostly brand new and mostly N scale items from a collector on consignment to sell. All the items are gradually being cataloged and added to the storefront. However, if you have any interest in obtaining any particular brand or road-name at markedly discounted prices, let us know and we'll send you some pictures and prices.
I am just entering the world of N gauge and would like to start with a somewhat basic and small track setup. I have reviewed some scenes/layouts, but
The San Diego Model Railroad Museum in sunny Southern California is not only home to award-winning layouts, but boasts an Online Gift Shop, full of apparel, mementos, and books for any train lover. Little ones will love sporting an engineer's cap, playing with a changeable trains-former, or reading classic stories like The Little Engine That Could. Grown-ups can sip their morning cup of Joe out of a Rosie the Riveter mug, show their love of the railroad with a fun t-shirt, or put some steam in their holiday baking with a locomotive cookie cutter! The best part? Every purchase you make directly supports the museum, helping to preserve the heritage and practice of model railroading for future generations!
Visit https://www.sdmrm.org/shop to see the full selection and place your order. If you have any questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy Holidays!
Tracks: a model railroad newsletter with lots of information on modeling tips and techniques, article and product reviews, layout tours and other great videos.
Here is a nice little story about railfanning in the mountains from MRH...
Tracks: A model railroad newsletter bringing new tips, techniques and interesting information to model railroaders of all ages and all gauges.
Tips on types of model railroad track to use, layout design, and how to lay the track
Halloween is coming up soon! I know for a lot of people, Halloween is really the most fun holiday of the year for kids of all ages - Model Railroaders included. This is the time to start thinking about creating your own Halloween diorama or train scene so it will be ready by All Saints Day! There are some great Halloween train sets, structures, and figures that would be perfect for a temporary Halloween scene that you could put up, take down and have again for next year and for years to come. These items would be good for a lifetime of Halloween fun and could even be passed down from one generation to another. Click on the link below to find out more...
Another great issue of Tracks, the newsletter for model railroaders of all ages and all scales.
A monthly model railroad newsletter that's full of tips, photos and videos to keep model railroaders inspired.
This is an article by Goeff Green published on this site in 2015 that I thought was worth mentioning again. This would be a great way to develop mountains, cliffs, tunnels and other structures quickly and with less mess than using plaster. You could use it as a rocky cliff, or it could provide a base to which you could add ground cover, bushes and other vegetation. If you are in the terrain or structure-building phase of developing your layout, take a look. Also, read the many comments that follow the article..
Scratchbuilding Tips for creating your own model railroad buildings
Gallery of prototypical and/or model train photos and model railroad layout photos
First there was DC-Analog. Then there was DCC. And now there's LCC, which may be the future of layout command control.
You Spoke, We Listened! The ads were interfering with content. (We didn't like them either.) It actually took a while to figure out how to stop them, but persistence paid off. So now you can actually read the pages without ads all over the place! Thanks for visiting!
Model Railroad News: Lots of information, updates, tips, techniques, layout videos, photos and supply links for serious model railroaders.
Model Railroad Themed Craftsman Structure Kits:
Ipswich Hobbies is a small company that focuses on delivering laser cut craftsman building kits that are based upon prototype structures. Kits are also available pre-built.
This page, Model Railroading Product Reviews, serves as a conduit for visitors to explore the pros and cons of tools and other products commonly used by model railroaders and other hobbyists.
I received an email recently from the Outreach Manager of The Saw Guy website who thought the many product reviews on his site might be helpful to our visitors. I agreed.
In fact I liked it so much that I thought it would be helpful to others to create a new section on the BYMRR site specifically for model railroading product reviews, which you will see in the near future.
In the meantime, check out the many reviews on The Saw Guy site starting with the page on milling machines...
Placing buildings properly on your layout seems fairly simple, but if you think about it, where and how you put your structures on your layout have a lot to do with the esthetics and the realism of your model railroad. First, you may want to consider building a foundation for your structure. Most kits don’t contain this element of a building. You can make a foundation easily by using strips of styrene covered with paper or cardstock printed with a brick pattern using software like ”Brickyard” by Evans Software. If your building is on a hill, use the foundation to allow the structure to be level while the foundation follows the slant of the hill on the bottom.
Second, make sure your groundcover comes right up to the edge of the structure and that your surrounding scenery (bushes and trees) are placed around your structures in a realistic way. Don’t leave big gaps between the bottom edge of the structure and the layout surface.
Don’t always have your buildings lining up with the tracks. It’s much more interesting to have them set up unparallel to the tracks with roads leading to or alongside the buildings.
Add interior lights to your buildings before you fasten them to the surface. Or leave the roof unglued so you can get at the interior to install or change lights.
Hold your buildings in place without gluing them down by inserting wooden dowels into the layout surface precisely where the inside corners of the building would meet the surface. Then you can lift it up and put it back down in exactly the same place.
Make sure you have a suggestion of adequate parking for your buildings or industries. Create walkways, driveways, fences around houses. Look at reference photos to help in creating the look you want. Don’t forget the details like people, dogs, trash cans, mailboxes, traffic lights, litter on the street, etc.
[Reprinted and edited with permission from Building Your Model Railroad Newsletter, May 2011]
One of the better products available for making water that we don’t talk about much is the matte and gloss medium called Mod Podge. This is great to use if you are modeling water that is wind-blown or moving. It is a fairly thick liquid that will hold it’s shape as you apply it with a brush, so it’s easy to make waves that stay where you want them. It goes on white and dries clear. After it dries, you should then apply a high-gloss acrylic wax like Pledge Future Shine to protect the surface, which is otherwise prone to get scratched. Thinned matte medium is also great to use as glue for laying roadbed, track or even ground cover and can serve as a fixing agent when sprayed over scenery to help hold everything in place. (It can also be used as a glue and sealer for picture puzzle surfaces prior to framing and hanging.)
(“The Scenery Clinic: Pt XV: Modeling Water and Evergreens”, by Paul Scoles, Railroad Model Craftsman, April, 2011, p74)
For more info on creating water effects, rapids and waterfalls, visit the BYMRR pages on Waterfalls and Water Scenes.
Tracks is a newsletter published monthly by Building Your Model Railroad containing tips, techniques, news, photos and videos of interest to model railroaders.
Small projects - Sometimes working on a big layout can be overwhelming. You begin to think that you'll never get it looking decent. It starts becoming a chore rather than fun. If this happens to you, try breaking up the big project into little ones. Just work on one thing or one scene at a time. If you get that one scene done so that everything works well and looks good in that area, then you will feel like you've accomplished something, and you will be more encouraged to go on with the next scene. Or break away from the big layout altogether for a while and do a much smaller project like a simple coffee table layout or a seasonal diorama. You may want to try your hand at a micro-mini layout. Or go an a rail-fanning trip and take a bunch of pictures. This will stimulate you to get back to your layout and perhaps try to emulate what you've seen using your new pictures as reference photos. There are so many things to do as part of this hobby, it's mind-boggling. (Re-posted from BYMRR Newsletter, Feb. 2011.)
This is our online general hobby store owned by BYMRR - starting with trains and expanding to other hobbies over time.
Incandescent bulbs can take either AC or DC power. If you use less voltage to power the bulb than what the bulb is rated for, you will have a much more natural light and it will last a lot longer (i.e., Use a 6-10 volt power supply for a 12V bulb)
LEDs (Light-emitting diodes), on the other hand, require DC only. They have to be connected in the right direction with the longer LED being attached to the + terminal of the power supply and the short lead (flat side of the LED) connected to the – terminal. An LED must have a resistor attached in series with one of the leads or it won't last very long. Most LEDs operate at a max of 2V and 20mA. If you’re using a 12V power supply, then you will need a 560ohm ¼ watt resistor. If your LED has a different rating, the math is as follows:
(Power voltage minus LED voltage) divided by (LED current in Amps) = Resistor value in Ohms.
Resistors often don't come in the exact size that you need so choose the resistor that has the next highest value. For example, if you need a 500ohm ¼ watt resistor, choose the next highest which is 560. ("Very Basic Electronics", by Bob Kendall, N-Scale, March-April, 2011, p45)
Despite these difficult times, we need to maintain our sense of humor and add some comic relief to our lives. Add some fun to your layout. There are lots of ways to do this. If your layout is freelanced, you can make up a funny story about how your railroad got started, frame it and post it in your train room. There are a number of humorous train signs that can be purchased and hung in your room as well. Create funny labels for your buildings and industries. Make hilarious billboards, or scenes of people being people, like arguing with police for getting a ticket, or farm crops full of cotton swabs, or add a few dinosaurs peeking out from behind buildings. Add sounds of a train wreck occurring just as a locomotive goes around a hidden bend. Add a car wreck scene. Consider a scene with a bunch of city workers standing around looking at a manhole cover. Take pictures of a lady tied to the tracks with a villain standing by. Use your imagination. Get your family to give you some ideas. They will enjoy watching your scene develop.
Extra scale modeling tips and techniques to help with building your own railroad!
The following links are two of my latest projects. I have a fire station with a burning building, moving fire trucks and guys coming down the fire pole.
How to lay model railroad track
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